How Gen Z feels about homeownership

Gen Zers are entering their early and mid-20s, and while still young, many are beginning to think about homeownership.

A recent survey by ApartmentList.com of 20-somethings found 87% of Gen Zers said homeownership is “at least somewhat important.” And 77% say it is at least somewhat attainable.



For first-time homebuyers, the down payment remains the biggest hurdle, but a good share of Gen Zers are counting on the Bank of Mom and Dad to tackle some of that.

“Fifty-six percent of them say that they expect to receive down payment assistance from family, and we find that has a huge impact on how attainable they find homeownership to be,” said Chris Salviati, senior economist at ApartmentList. “More than half of (those who expect assistance) say that homeownership is extremely attainable with down payment help.”

Even so, when combining views of importance and attainability together, just 9% of Gen Zers view homeownership as both extremely important and extremely attainable.

Young buyers will generally start small, and are looking for many of the things in their new home older buyers are. But, surprisingly, remote work plays a less important role in Gen Z housing choices. Just 17% view remote work as an extremely desirable working arrangement in their new home, compared to one-third of millennials.

“For Gen Z, I think the social aspects of in-person work might be more important. And also I think there is still a little bit of a perception that being in-person in the early stage of your career is still important in terms of learning and development, as well as career development in that early stage,” Salviati said.

It may also be that younger members of Gen Z are more likely to work in service occupations, where remote work is not an option.

Thirty percent of Gen Zers say that being in an affordable housing market where homeownership is financially attainable is the most important factor determining where they would like to live in the future.

While Gen Zers view homeownership as important and attainable, it is not currently a top financial goal. Just 16% of Gen Z renters said saving up for a home is their top financial priority, while substantially higher shares are focused on personal savings and paying off debt.

ApartmentList received more than 8,000 responses to its online survey, which included Gen Z, younger millennials and older millennials. Its full “How Does Gen Z Feel About Homeownership? report is posted online.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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